The Senate Appropriations Committee’s proposed $306 billion pandemic relief package, released Monday, includes $29 billion for defense of which $19 billion would be used to assist the industrial base.

“With the additional resources this legislation provides, I believe we can give them greater confidence that we are getting our arms around this virus.  That, I believe, is the key to unleashing the American economy and hitting our stride as a nation once again,” Sen. Richard Shelby (R-Ala.), the committee chair, said in a statement.

Low angled view of the U.S. Capitol East Facade Front in Washington, DC.

The bill provides nearly $11 billion to assist the Pentagon with industry’s COVID-related claims and another $8 billion for “procurement and acquisition efforts to support the defense industrial base.”

The earlier CARES Act relief back package included a provision authorizing the Pentagon to cover the defense industrial base’s efforts to keep workers employed but did not appropriate funds for reimbursement.

Ellen Lord, the Pentagon’s top acquisition official, has previously told lawmakers that she expects industry’s reimbursement claims for pandemic-related costs to total in the “low double digits of billions of dollars” (Defense Daily, June 10).

The Senate’s proposal would also extend the availability of reimbursements under CARES Act provisions for an additional 12 months.